Tampa lawmaker joins race for congressional seat

Published February 15, 2005

TAMPA - State Sen. Les Miller Jr. announced Tuesday he will run for the District 11 congressional seat being vacated by Tampa's Jim Davis.

"I'm sure there will be a crowded field for this congressional seat," Miller said in an interview, "but I have to do what's best for Les Miller. I have a lot to offer the constituents of District 11."

Miller, who recently had surgery for kidney cancer, said in a statement that he has received a clean bill of health from his doctor. He is the husband of Tampa City Council member Gwen Miller.

Miller, who says he wants to restore people's faith in the value of hard work, currently represents state Senate District 18, which includes parts of Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties. The area is roughly the same as the District 11 congressional seat.

Miller, the Senate Democratic leader, is an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1992. There he served as Democratic Leader from 1998 through 2000, when he left because of term limits. In 2000, he won election to the Senate.

Shortly after Miller announced his intentions, state Rep. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, said she will run for Miller's state Senate seat. Another potential contender is state Rep. Frank Peterman, D-St. Petersburg.

Jim Davis announced last week that he is leaving the congressional seat to run for governor.

Other potential contenders to succeed Davis include Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor and former state House candidate Scott Farrell.

-- Elisabeth Dyer can be reached at 813 226-3321 or edyer@sptimes.com